What is a Camera Jib?

What is a Camera Jib?

What exactly is a camera jib, and how does it work?

If you’re a filmmaker, you’ve probably heard of a Jib. It’s a crane-like rig on which a camera is attached to achieve creative angles and movement.

Key Takeaways

A camera jib, also called a camera crane, is a modular, booming arm mounted on a heavy-duty tripod. It is equipped with an electronic camera head or a stabilized gimbal that is remotely controlled to pan and tilt the direction of the camera.  While the jib is a powerful tool, only skilled operators bring out its true shotmaking potential.

Table of Contents

What is a camera jib?

A camera jib, also known as a camera crane, is a mechanical device used in filmmaking and videography to achieve dynamic and sweeping camera movements. It consists of a long arm or boom that is attached to a pivoting base. The camera is mounted on one end of the arm, while the other end is counterbalanced to ensure stability.

The jib allows filmmakers to elevate the camera to higher positions or move it horizontally and vertically in a smooth and controlled manner. It enables the camera to capture unique angles, sweeping shots, and smooth tracking movements that add a cinematic and professional look to the footage.

The electronic controls on a camera jib can also manipulate the focus, iris, and zoom rings of any type of camera lens. The camera jib uses counterweight at its tail which gives the Jib Operator the ability to smoothly swing the arm in an arc trajectory to create different moves and change the camera’s vantage point. MTJIBS offers jibs along with a proprietary standard remote-controlled head as well as stabilized gimbals.

Camera jibs are often used in various types of productions, including films, television shows, documentaries, music videos, and commercials. They offer a wide range of creative possibilities and are particularly effective for capturing establishing shots, crane shots, overhead shots, and dramatic vertical movements.

Camera Jibs (aka camera cranes) come in different sizes and configurations, ranging from compact portable models to large-scale cranes used in major film productions (like this one). They can be manually operated by a camera operator or controlled remotely using motorized systems for precise and repeatable movements.

Common Features of Camera Jibs

Camera Jibs come in different shapes, sizes, and features. The Jimmy Jib Triangle can be built in 3-foot increments from a length of 6 feet up to 40 feet.  This is great news for production companies that organize shoots in a variety of locations. 

Jibs can be built to work anywhere from small bedrooms, news studios, and sound stages to concert halls, sporting venues, and stadiums. 

Exterior locations may have rough terrain, which is why MTJibs also offers Off-Road Dolly Wheels to safely roll the camera jib into position.

For even more range in movement, the Jimmy Jib Triangle dolly wheels can be swapped for special track wheels to glide on any industry-standard track.  Film directors have taken advantage of these track wheels to achieve more reach than the built jib length and even change the arc trajectory of the jib swing to a more linear movement.

At MTJIBS, our jib operators are experts in choosing the perfect lengths, positions, and accessories for your goals, and we outfit all of our camera jibs with the proper gear for any type of shoot.

The Technocrane 22 by Supertechno is a compact, telescoping camera jib that takes versatility to the next level.  The Technocrane 22 has a reach of 6 feet to 22 feet and can extend or retract its arm completely in seconds. 

The Technocrane 22 has gained popularity in the industry for its small footprint and compact base that can roll through a 30-inch-wide doorway. For this reason, our MTJIBS Technocrane 22 is regularly used in studio TV shows, awards shows and concerts where floor space is especially limited. 

The Technocrane 22, or “Techno,” for short, can handle payloads of up to 25 lbs.  Its Mitchell mount head allows you to mount different remote heads such as a Jimmy Jib Head, or a Shotover G1

The Techno is ideal for getting smooth, sweeping and/or telescoping camera movements that can be difficult to achieve with other types of equipment.

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Benefits of using a camera jib

MOVEMENT: Jibs add camera movement to a production. Whether the production calls for the subtle or dynamic shot, the jib can bring the moves with the proper tempo to achieve the necessary feel or mood for a dramatic or music show. 

From concerts, sports, to subtle moving stand ups, the jib can be used to create the movement needed to engage the audience.

HEIGHT: The jib allows directors to get the camera to certain heights to look down upon a scene or move down to bring one into the scene.

VARIOUS ANGLES:  While the base is planted in one spot, the jib can get a variety of angles (more on this below). It can change angles and get shots more quickly than on a tripod or even a dolly.  This saves time on a commercial or music video shoot. 

On a multi-camera production, the jib can be used not only for movement or a wide shot, but it can offer various camera angles making the production look like it has more cameras than it actually does.

Different Shots you can do with a Camera Jib

There are several types of camera shots that jib operators can use to capture dynamic and visually interesting footage. Here are some of the most common jib shots:

    1. High-angle shot: This shot is taken from a high vantage point, such as a crane or a tall building. It is useful for establishing a sense of scale and can be used to capture sweeping landscapes or cityscapes.
    2. Low-angle shot: This shot is taken from a low vantage point and can be used to make the subject appear more imposing or powerful. It is often used in action movies to make the hero look larger than life.
    3. Arc shot: This shot involves moving the camera in a circular motion around the subject. It can be used to create a sense of tension or anticipation, or to highlight a particular object or person.
    4. Crane shot: This shot involves using a crane to raise the camera high above the subject. It can be used to create a sense of drama or to capture a wide shot of a large group of people.
    5. Dolly shot: This shot involves moving the camera on a track or wheeled platform. It can be used to create a smooth, flowing shot that follows the action.
    6. Tracking shot: This shot involves following the action with the camera as the subject moves. It can be used to create a sense of urgency or to capture a fast-paced action sequence.

Overall, jibs in our experience, offer a wide range of shots for a director to use.  And, with an experienced operator, their expertise in camera angles and composition allows them to capture stunning footage that adds depth and dimension to any production.

The importance of the Jib Operator

Jib operators are skilled camera professionals who operate jibs for various types of productions, including films, television shows, and live events. They are responsible for turning the envisioned camera shot into a reality. 

The best jib operators are not just artistic, but collaborative. They will assist directors with their visions and even offer alternative jib shot solutions to help the overall production. 

Jib Operators are an essential part of the filmmaking process, providing the kind of shots that elevate a film from the ordinary to the extraordinary.
Triangle Jimmy Jib – Stable Modular Cranes
Professional Camera Jib Operators from MTJIBS

Jib operators play a crucial role in the art of filmmaking. They are responsible for capturing dynamic and visually stunning shots that add depth and dimension to a scene.

Their expertise in camera angles, composition, and lighting helps to create a cinematic experience that is both engaging and immersive.

Camera Jib operators work closely with directors and directors of photography to achieve the desired shots, providing a range of perspectives that add variety and interest to the final product.

Their technical skills and attention to detail ensure that everything runs smoothly on set, and they are responsible for the safety of everyone involved with the jib shots.

Final thoughts

Overall, camera jibs provide filmmakers with a versatile tool for adding visual interest and production value to their shots, expanding the creative possibilities and enhancing storytelling capabilities.

MTJIBS is passionate about storytelling with camera movement, which is why we provide well-maintained, well-equipped camera jibs, as well as highly skilled, safety-trained jib operators. We are in the business of giving you an enjoyable shooting experience on set and fresh, new ways to tell your stories. How can an MTJIBS camera jib help you on your next production?


Contact us today for a quote on the best professional camera movement & crew rental for your next video production project.


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